American Craft Week is a nationwide celebration. “American craft enriches our homes, wardrobes, offices and public spaces,” says the website for the multicity event that runs from Saturday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Oct. 16 (it really should be called American Craft weeks). “It contributes to our nation’s economy, our balance of trade and the fabric of our national history.”
There are few places where this is more true than in Western North Carolina. Here, craft forms are not only revered as part of our heritage but continue to be preserved, taught and forwarded by both longtime artisans and new makers working in wood, metal, fiber, clay and other mediums.
WNC is so rooted in craft that the region boasts its own events page on the American Craft Week website, where dozens of studios, galleries, exhibitions, festivals and demonstrations are listed. The site also includes the informative video, “Crafting the Blue Ridge Arts Scene,” which covers the longevity of many local organizations such as Penland School of Crafts, John C. Campbell Folk School and the Southern Highlands Craft Guild. Such institutions, as well as a number of revivals over the decades, have cemented the place of craft — in its many forms — in the area.
Join in the celebration: Plan a long weekend of studio-hopping, a self-guided exhibition tour or a visit to a craft fair (or three). Events and locations are based in Asheville unless otherwise noted. Find more info at americancraftweek.com
Galleries and studios
• Local Cloth Studio — During American Craft Week, Local Cloth holds workshops on paper making, natural dyes, spindle making and more. See website for schedule, costs and to register. 207 Coxe Ave. localcloth.org
• Grovewood Gallery — The exhibition Wild Hares and Other Phantasmagoria, featuring the whimsical work of Bakersville-based sculptor Josh Coté, opens on Saturday, Oct. 1, with a reception from 3 to 6 p.m. The Grovewood Gallery also hosts Meet Your Maker: Open Studios + Craft Demonstrations, a chance to tour artists’ workspaces on the property, on Saturday, Oct. 8, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. 111 Grovewood Road, grovewood.com
• Bardo Arts Center at Western Carolina University — The exhibit Contemporary Clay: A Survey of Contemporary American Ceramics opens with a reception on Thursday, Oct. 6. It will be on view through Monday, Dec. 12. The center hosts a symposium on Thursday and Friday, Oct. 6 and 7. 1 University Drive, Cullowhee. bardoartscenter.wcu.edu
• Sculptural Art Baskets by Matt Tommey — As part of American Craft Week, Tommey offers daily sculptural basketry demonstrations in his studio, located in the River Arts District at 191 Lyman St., No. 160. He’ll also share his work at the Grovewood Gallery. matttommey.com
• The Center for Craft, Creativity & Design — The center’s Benchspace Gallery & Workshop showcases The Future of Fixing, “an exhibition, maker library and workshop program focusing on attitudes of repair,” according to a press release. It remains on exhibit through Saturday, Jan. 7. 67 Broadway, craftcreativitydesign.org
• Tyson Graham — The stoneware artist from Little Mountain Pottery holds his annual open house festival on Saturday, Oct. 8, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event includes guest artists and mountain music. 6148 Peniel Road, Tryon, tysongrahampottery.com
• Flow — The exhibit Heavy Metal will be on display at the cooperative gallery through Monday, Oct. 31. An opening reception takes place on Friday, Oct. 7. 14 Main St., Marshall, flowmarshall.com
• Brian Boggs Chairmakers — The River Arts District business, founded by Boggs and his wife, Melanie, combines traditional woodworking with modern production. Guided tours are offered Monday through Friday, at 2 p.m. 239 Amboy Road, brianboggschairmakers.com
• Silver River Center for Chair Caning — The nation’s only chair-caning school and museum offers a number of events during American Craft Week: Laced caning classes run every Monday, Oct. 3 to 24, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (call 707-4553 to sign up); the center will demonstrate the Shaker tape weaving process on a dozen ladder-back chairs, in collaboration with Brian Boggs Chairmakers; Silver River co-owner Brandy Clements will demonstrate laced caning at the Asheville Chamber of Commerce on Friday, Oct. 14, from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. 9 Riverside Drive, silverriverchairs.com
Festivals and events
• John C. Campbell Folk School Fall Festival — More than 240 craft exhibitors show their wares while demonstrations reveal the intricasies of traditional and contemporary craft forms. The two-day gathering (now in its 42nd year) takes place on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2. It includes pony rides, pet adoptions and dance performance. There will also be bluegrass, gospel, folk and Celtic music. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, $5 adults/$3 children ages 12 to 17/free for children younger than 12. 1 Folk School Road, Brasstown, folkschool.org
• Blue Ridge Fiber Show — The international, biennial celebration of fiber arts showcases entries in the weaving, spinning and felting competition (this year’s show is titled Nature’s Colors) and can be seen at The North Carolina Arboretum from Saturday, Oct. 1, through Sunday, Jan. 1. 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, wncfhg.org
• Asheville Art in the Park — Held on three consecutive Saturdays in October, the fair is a chance for nationally known artists to exhibit in Pack Square Park, and 10 percent of the proceeds from the event will be donated to a local nonprofit art organization. Browse glass, ceramics, woodwork, jewelry and metalwork on Oct. 1, 8 and 15, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. ashevilleartinthepark.com
• The Village Potters — Join Raku Day at The Village Potters on Saturday, Oct. 8, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Participants can glaze a small pot and watch it be fired in a raku kiln. The $20 per-pot charge benefits the scholarship fund for The Village Potters Teaching Center and Independent Study and Mentoring Program. 191 Lyman Street, No. 180, thevillagepotters.com
• Art on Main — The annual fine art and fine craft street festival (now in its 57th year) takes over Main Street in downtown Hendersonville on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 1 and 2, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. acofhc.org
• Spruce Pine Potters Market — A diverse array of works in clay, from 30 potters, can be found at the annual invitational show and sale. The potters market is held in the historic Cross Street Building in Spruce Pine on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 8 and 9, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Admission is free ,and lunch is available. sprucepinepottersmarket.com
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